The death of objects can release a grief even more bewildering than the death of a loved person. People are supposed to die, hard as that is to keep in mind. Whether one lived with boring prudence, as the Cavaliere now did, or courted death, as his glorious friend did every time he went into battle, the end is the same, inevitable. But objects as durable and as ancient as the Cavaliere's magnificent antique vases, especially such objects, which have survived so many centuries, offer a promise of immortality. Part of why we become attached to them, collect them, is that it is not inevitable that they will some day be subtracted from the world. And when the promise is broken, by accident or negligence, our protestations seem pointless. Our grief a mite indecent. But the mourning, which amplifies grief and thereby eases it, still needs to be done.Susan Sontag, The Volcano Lover, p.254
And whilst on the subject of collections, this site, Public Collectors, is interesting. Nice bit of public-spirit.